I ran into a few new students while on campus today; both of them are new fellows in my fellowship program which means I met them when they were here for interviews in February. One of them engaged me in conversation for awhile. She said "I remember you. You had that beautiful baby." And then she held up her little finger "And you were actively breastfeeding and you'd use your little finger to calm her down..." Yes, that's right... she was a bit over 2 months old then. Now she's 8 months. And she won't suck on a finger much anymore, she'd rather chomp on anything that comes near her mouth. Though earlier this week while riding in the car with her she was SO tired she took my finger and sucked just like she did when she was so much smaller and fell promptly asleep.
This past week Caroline has taken particular interest in the diamond on my engagement ring, particularly when we're riding in the back seat together. One day she took my hand and turned it this way and that as if examining the ring from every angle and then she promptly began efforts to get the diamond in her mouth! She decided this would work quite well as a teether. Fortunately she can't really get it to her gums, I think that could hurt! But she has fun trying. She goes for that hand very quickly every time we're in the car now.
We didn't quite make the goal of 5 days of practice with daddy as primary caregiver and mommy on campus this week because I came down with another 24 hour g.i. bug. Not terrible, but I felt lousy from Tuesday evening until Wednesday afternoon. So I slept most of Wednesday morning while Kev took Caroline with him to church so he could do some practicing for an interview/audition he had that evening. Apparently Caroline is a BIG fan of organ pedals. I was feeling much better Wednesday afternoon so I stayed home with Caroline while Kev went back to church for slightly less disrupted practice! In any case, I was on campus 9-3 (more or less) every day but Wednesday and all went well. And most exciting of all?! As of this morning we have 14 oz of MY milk frozen! We'll likely get some more frozen tonight or tomorrow morning. This new pump is working beautifully. I get about 3 oz in 20 minutes! And I pump twice while on campus and usually 1-2 times at home. This is how we're finally accumulating a supply. If I keep this pace up for another few weeks we should be in great shape! Thanks for all the support as we worked our way to this point.
Caroline is eating LOTS more solid food now and the slow flow nipple/bottle that Mama V sent along is helping smaller amounts of milk last longer. The biggest food discovery of this week (as you might have noted in the pics below) was cheerios! SHE LOVES THEM! She eats them. She plays with them. She practices fine motor skills with them. Typically when she sits in her high chair now we put some cheerios down and she'll entertain herself for awhile while we prep whatever other food we're going to offer her (or us!). She also is less interested in grabbing the bowl or spoon and will happily eat whatever we're feeding her while keeping her hands busy with the cheerios. She still sometimes helps with the spoon, but more often she'll take a bite off the spoon, pop in some cheerios, bite off the spoon, etc. We have a nice rhythm. And she's increasing how much she'll eat in one sitting too.
Cheerios aren't the only new food of the week, however! She discovered that she likes avocado while we were at our favorite Mexican restaurant last Saturday. Friends of ours shared that they loved eating at Mexican restaurants with their babies because they could always order a few avocado slices and keep the babies happy. And indeed, it worked like a charm! And she had more avocado at dinner at home last night and enjoyed it thoroughly again. Many of you recommended this, but her first taste of it didn't interest her at all and it took us awhile to get back to it. But it is in the repertoire now. And it is not sweet!
And we made other progress in the less sweet (i.e. veggies) arena this week, too. I think it was Esperanza who shared, via e-mail, that her daughter also had a major sweet tooth, but would eat peas... because they were somehow sweeter. We had some frozen peas in the freezer so Kev cooked them up and mashed them in a food processor. And... she liked them. She didn't love them. But she ate several good bites of peas, maybe 10? Some big bites included. At one point she wiped her mouth and then rubbed her eyes while eating the peas- hence the bottom eight month picture!
Other new foods this week? Cherries- in her teether! Loved them! Plum in her teether- not so interested- probably would have gone over better mashed up and spoon fed, not sure!
She continues to enjoy yogurt and rice cereal with yogurt. Sometimes we add fruit to this mix as well. And she continues to love bananas and grapes!
Phew. One would think that all our girl is doing is eating, but that's not true! She's continuing to work at walking. Pulling up as much as possible, often with little to hold on to. No dramatic progress, but lots of effort. And, indeed, Kevin was correct- it is her left leg that she keeps straight when she crawls so this is further confirmation that she's holding out hope for walking and that it doesn't have anything to do with the leg break. She's crawling up a storm. Exploring, exploring, exploring... and loving her world most of the time. You should see how adept she is at shifting between crawling, sitting, pulling up, etc. It really is impressive.
She laughs A LOT these day! She is so much fun to play with.
She still has rough days and nights... her teeth continue to slowly work their way up and some days they make her miserable. Apparently she was very fussy and clingy with daddy for most of yesterday and last night she had some rough stretches. But today was better for the most part and it feels like hard days were fewer and farther between this week.
We received more wonderful packages this week! Lots of beautiful clothes, child proofing items, storage bags... good stuff! The package Mamie sent along had a BEAUTIFUL dress crocheted by Mamie, a beautiful pinafore that G.A.S. (Great Aunt Sherry) work 60 plus years ago, and so many other nice things from various sources included a bathing suit made by the mother of a baby I used to babysit (who is probably in college now!) and lots of great sun hats, which is fabulous because we have one that we use all the time, and it will be fun to work others into the rotation. Thanks Mamie, Wendy, and Mama V!
We have a fun weekend ahead. Auntie Tish (birth blogger extraordinaire) and Uncle Jonathan are coming over for a quick dinner tonight and then we're heading to a concert on the lawn at our church at which one of Caroline's babysitters (a teenager) will be performing some original compositions (and there will also be a jazz trio, I think!) We don't usually take her out in the evenings anymore, but we didn't want to miss this. Tomorrow we'll be readying the house for a visit from Pa and Abuelita (and just because it is so nice to have a house in order and we have an open day to do so!) We are finally going to get the big map rehung in her nursery (previous attempts resulted in a big fallen map, repeatedly, hopefully we'll have better luck this time) and we have some framed items to get up as well. Pa and Abuelita have said before that they love the motivation that company provides to get things done around the house! I love it too. Every time I rock her to sleep in there I wish that the room were more finished. We'll hopefully be closer by the end of tomorrow! And Sunday there is a pool party/picnic for congregation number one which we'll go to for awhile (using a smaller bathing suit that wendy sent along- thank you, wendy!) This will be Caroline's first pool experience! And then Pa and Abuelita arrive in time for dinner Sunday night.
(I will get pics and maybe video posted later today or tomorrow. I've been having the darndest time getting videos to load lately. I tried 5 times, for more time than I want to admit, to get the 1 minute video of her climbing the step loaded and had no luck any time. Grr... I have three 1 minute videos of her disgust at zucchini that I'd like to get up, but I haven't tried yet. I'm so glad that yogurt one loaded!)